American Apocalypse Synopsis
STEPHEN “MERLIN” JOHNSON, a gifted but poor community college student, is trying to figure out where he fits. A nerdy kid of color, he doesn’t feel he is living up to the expectations of his family. When he steals an iPad one day on the train, he’s just trying to help his mom pay the rent and earn some extra comic book money. He doesn’t expect to discover an ancient magical combat manual on it or invoke a spell that summons the Angel of Apocalypse to his bedroom.
After the owner of the iPad, DAVID FRANKLIN, tracks Merlin down and witnesses Merlin’s ability, he and his organization, the Order of Melchizedek, snatch Merlin from his apartment. They offer to train Merlin in exchange for him establishing contact with the angel and finding the angel’s weapons. Merlin accepts wanting to the wealth and security the Order promises him and his mother.
During his training in combat magic, Merlin meets two other students of magic: PATSY and JULIE. Patsy, a gay kid, is open and welcoming, but Julie feels Merlin doesn’t belong here because he’s black. While in training, Merlin is approached by members of the Illuminati, the rivals of the Melchizedek, who sow doubt in his mind about the racism and classism of the Melchizedek.
The night before his final test, the training center is attacked and destroyed by two Chinese demons. Merlin, Patsy, and Julie go on the run, taking refuge at the strongholds of other priesthoods such as the Lukumi, which serves the African god Obatala. The Melchizedek and the Lukumi agree to work together to find the angel’s weapons. Merlin’s task: to make it to San Francisco, where the Order believes they are hidden.
Accompanied by Patsy and Julie, he heads first to St. Louis, where they are caught in riots following the police shooting of a young black man. When Merlin uses his new magical training to defend himself and others from the police, he realizes the full extent of his anger at the police and the system that supports them. Merlin begins to struggle with his mission. Should he support the Order or use his gift to help communities of color?
In Oklahoma City, after they are attacked by the Mushi, a society of Chinese priests, they learn that the attack was motivated by Julie’s parents, who are staging a coup within the Melchizedek. Julie’s parents have convinced many members of the Melchizedek, including Julie, that Merlin is a spy sent to destroy the Order. Julie tries to leave the group, but the Chinese demons are intent on keeping everyone together. Merlin decides the current system of magical orders must be destroyed.
In Texas, they meet the Cuanderos, the Mexican priests. While resting at the house of the chief priest, Merlin tries to hold together his team. That night using ancient Aztec magic, the chief priest and her followers are able to survive an ICE raid.
In Arizona, a Navajo priestess leads them through a healing ritual. While they are trying to rebuild trust among the group, Julie’s mother kidnaps Merlin’s mother and grandmother to use as bargaining chips against Merlin.
Merlin and the group travel to Locke, California, the last stop before San Francisco. There they meet with members of Mushi. Once everyone is in the same room, everyone realizes how they have been manipulated into fighting. Everyone except Julie, who betrays the group’s location to her mother. Julie and her family like the old way. The current system is good to them. Julie’s mother ALICE arrives with Merlin’s kidnapped family members and forces him to complete the journey to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Merlin retrieves the weapons of the Angel of Apocalypse, and finds MICHAEL, the leader of Melchizedek, who explains he conjured the demons because Melchizedek had become corrupt and greedy. He wanted to have Patsy, Julie, and Merlin work together, so they could see they are the future. He wanted Merlin to build something new. Merlin, Michael, and Patsy fight an epic battle against Julie and her mother Alice in order to free Merlin’s family, but Michael and Merlin’s grandmother are killed in the process. Julie and her mother escape to rebuild and fight on. Merlin and his allies prepare for a war for control of the magical world